Natural vs Artificial Baits: What’s the Difference?


Fish can be attracted to artificial baits just as easily as they are to live ones, and it’s really a matter of opinion as to which is better.  However, there are some benefits and limitations to both that are worth considering.  Here is some basic information that can help you to decide whether or not to include artificial baits in your survival kit or bug out bag.


Natural by Default

Consider natural baits as being better by default simply because they are usually things that fish eat on a regular basis anyway.  Good natural baits reflect the tastes and preferences of the type of fish that you’re trying to catch in the body of water you’re in at the time.  Crickets, worms, large flies, grubs and snails are just a few examples of many options available, and using them will usually put you at an advantage.  The question is whether or not it’s worth the time and energy required to find and collect and store the bait for use later.


Another benefit associated with of using natural bait is that you don’t need a lot of skill or experience that has been honed over time from working with artificial alternatives.  Just bait the hook, drop your line in a good spot, and hopefully you’ll get some bites.


Going Artificial

Artificial baits eliminate the need to gather and maintain live ones, and they are particularly-effective when targeting a specific type of fish that is lurking in specific conditions.  They are designed to mimic natural baits that would attract these fish, and this can be a great way to catch specific species.  Another benefit of artificial baits are that you can use them right away, and they’re usually reusable as well.


However, making the most of artificial baits requires a lot of knowledge and experience.  It also involve selecting the right baits for the conditions that you are encountering at the time.  Since artificial baits attract a narrow range of fish, this can narrow your options if you’re trying to cast a “wide net” for food as well.


Common Types of Artificial Baits

There are a number of different categories of artificial baits, and chances are that some of their names will be familiar.  Let’s take a closer look at what each does.



Spinners are baits that have a spinning tail or some kind of propeller on the back that moves as it’s dragged through the water.  This mimics the flickering movements of prey in the water that fish detect.



These look like fish that mimic swimming as they cast and get “cranked”, or reeled back in.  Some crankbaits are designed to skim along the surface whereas others sink to varying depths, and it’s important to choose the right ones for the fish that you’re trying to attract.



A jig has a rounded head and some kind of fluffy, stringy material that makes up the tail.  Some also have legs, eyes or other features that mimic certain insects that dance on or near the surface.


Plugs, Spoons and Poppers

Plugs mimic the behavior of small fish as they dart through the water.  Spoons are small and rounded metallic objects that bounce around in the water and reflect light.  This also mimics the look and behavior of small prey.  Poppers are little plastic baits that float on the surface and make a popping noise as they’re reeled in.  This mimics the sounds of insects, and they can be a highly-effective way of attracting a number of fish species.  The trick is to use the right poppers for the fish you’re looking for.


Take some time to learn more about the benefits and limitations of using artificial baits.  They’re a lot easier to use than most people think, and they make for an excellent addition to any survival kit or bug out bag.  While we recommend using live bait whenever possible, knowing how to put artificial ones to work for you can give you more options in the field, and this can translate into increasing the odds of hauling in a good catch during a survival situation..





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